Song of the forgotten soldiers


"Exactly ten years ago this month, the Middle East was aflame in conflict and was drowning in bloodshed and oil spills. But unlike today's violent uprisings, the 1991 battle was predicated on the United States' unofficial declaration of war on Iraq. Operation Desert Storm was declared a dubious victory nearly ten years ago. But for the men and women who fought, the horrors of the war are far from over. More than any other soldiers in recent memory, Gulf War veterans are afflicted with a litany of mysterious physical and emotional ailments. Unlike the veterans of Korea and Vietnam, however, the government and general public have offered Desert Storm vets little respect, sympathy or appreciation for enduring the thankless war for our economic interests. 'I made a pact with the devil when I was over there,' recalls Gulf War vet John R. Johnson. 'One day, it got so bad, I was screaming at the top of my lungs, Somebody open up the sand and suck me in, because hell has to be better than this!' 'There were guys in my platoon who came back and they had these huge tattoos: 'Desert Shield,' 'Desert Storm,' these big bulldogs on 'em,' says Sean Nichols. 'And I'm like, 'Are you kidding? You played Game Boy just like I did. What is this?' 'People think Gulf War vets didn't go through what they should have gone through,' says Steven Williams. 'And I feel for those vets because I know how quickly and how soon you're forgotten.' 'Echoing a common Gulf-veteran refrain, Willie Gonzalez say s the military chewed him up and spit him out. Two months after coming home, he began to experience the fatigue, depression, joint pains and urinary tract infections characteristic of Gulf War syndrome."

"The Gulf War syndrome afflicts thousands of veterans worldwide - many of whom never saw combat - and is believed to have contributed to 6,000 to 9,000 postwar deaths. A tentative diagnosis relates the illness and deaths to biological nerve agents. In the U.S., many of these veterans have been denied veterans' disability benefits and others have been ordered to take non-FDA-approved nerve gas drugs, some were actually nerve agents themselves."

Reminds us of how our government treated (or actually refused to treat) all the veterans who had contact with Agent Orange in Viet Nam.

Source: February, 2001
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You may be obliged to wage war, but not to use poisoned arrows. - Baltasar Gracian

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